My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Music volunteer from Swansea nominated for Coronation Champion Award

Ify Iwobi

An amazing 29 year-old volunteer from Swansea, Ify Iwobi, who inspires young people from diverse-ethnic backgrounds through music and culture, has been nominated for the prestigious Coronation Champions Awards, being held to celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.

With the support of Her Majesty The Queen Consort, a passionate advocate of volunteering and President of Royal Voluntary Service, the Coronation Champions awards are set to recognise exceptional volunteers from across the country at this momentous point in history.  

Ify who volunteers part time through Race Council Cymru, the African Community Centre, and also previously Swansea YMCA, and is now in the running to become one of a total of 500 volunteers, who will be selected as the nation’s Coronation Champions and invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations

Ify, who is a talented pianist, composer, musician and a BBC Radio Wales Welsh A-List Artist, established a project called Crossing Borders Music and Heritage. The initiative was set up to help young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds explore how their cultural backgrounds impact on their creativity, art and heritage and increase their sense of self- worth, confidence and creative abilities.  More than 30 young people aged 14–29, many of whom have fled from war and persecution, benefited from the project, seeing improvements in their mental health and wellbeing.

A volunteer for 15 years, Ify also donates time each week to teach piano to young asylum seekers and refugees, who do not have the financial  means to pay for lessons.

Furthermore, during the pandemic, Ify led a collaboration between seven Black musicians based in Wales, a Black producer, a Black visual artist and a white Welsh designer, to compose a track to raise money for the NHS in Wales. “We Won’t Forget’ raised over £2000 and won the Wales Culture Matters Bread and Roses Award in 2021.

As well as receiving an invite to one of the official events, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or a Coronation Garden Party, all 500 Champions, will also receive a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a certificate signed by His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort. 

Commenting on her nomination, Ify Iwobi said: “Becoming a Coronation Champion would completely change my life and, I hope, inspire other young people to volunteer alongside study or work. We can all give back a little to make the world a better place and power up those around us.”  

“For me, music has been a life line and I believe many young people who have fled from war, trauma and distress could find it therapeutic to use creative art as a form of expression of their pain, stress and anxiety. Through volunteering and managing this project, I have used my creative talent and ability to empower, uplift and transform young people’s lives, enabling them to be the best they can be” 

When launching the Coronation Champions Awards, Her Majesty The Queen Consort said: “Up and down the country, millions of unsung heroes are contributing to their local communities, giving generously of their time and their talents to enhance the lives of others 

“If you know a volunteer who is making a difference, please be sure to share their story.  We would love to hear about them!”  

The Coronation Champions Awards invite people in Wales and across the UK to nominate their local volunteering heroes who are going the extra mile. Nominations can be made across eight award categories; supporting older people; supporting young people and children; crisis and welfare; community; sports, culture, and heritage; health and care; sustainability and the environment; and animal welfare. 

Furthermore, the awards aim to celebrate and inspire the next generation of volunteers. Nominations are open to people aged 14 and over, and judges will be on the lookout to recognise rising stars as ‘Young Coronation Champions’ (aged 14-18).   

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “It has been a joy to see how many volunteers have been nominated in recognition for their incredible work so far. We’re going to have a real challenge on our hands when it comes to judging the entries, as every volunteer is already a star in my eyes. 

“I know there are many more people out there with astounding stories to be told, and I want to encourage everyone who has the good fortune of knowing a dedicated volunteer, to step forward and nominate them for this once in a lifetime award, because they really deserve it.”

Nominations will be reviewed by an expert judging panel made up of volunteering specialists, charity leaders and academics. Nominees will be judged on their demonstrated impact, initiative, inspiration, and involvement in volunteering over the last five years. 

Nominations for the Coronation Champions Awards will close at 23.59 on Sunday 2nd April. To nominate a volunteer for the Coronation Champions Awards, visit: www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/coronation-champions-awards